Godfreys to close all NZ stores

Godfreys' Dunedin store. Photo: Linda Robertson
Godfreys' Dunedin store. Photo: Linda Robertson
Vacuum and cleaning retailer Godfreys will close all stores across New Zealand and Australia before May after it has failed to find a buyer for the business.

It comes after Stephen White and John Fisk of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) were appointed administrators of the New Zealand arm of the business in late January.

It operated three stores in Christchurch - Godfreys Moorhouse, Godfreys Hornby Superstore and Godfreys Northwood.

The almost 95-year-old business is one of the world’s largest vacuum retailers and before its voluntary administration Godfreys operated 141 stores, employing 600 people across both countries.

Twenty-five of those stores were in NZ, with 16 company-operated and nine franchise stores. Within 24 hours of being appointed, White and Fisk had closed company-owned “loss-making” stores in Coastland in Paraparaumu, Porirua, Nelson, Hamilton Central, and New Plymouth.

Speaking to BusinessDesk yesterday, White said they had worked closely with the Australian administrators and Godfreys’ group management to find a buyer and “are saddened this has not happened”.

“We recognise this is a difficult time for staff, franchisees, and stakeholders, and will continue to work closely with all parties to ensure they are kept informed of progress and supported over the coming weeks.”

BusinessDesk reported 55 expressions of interest and six indicative offers were received during the sale process, but they had all been withdrawn or insufficient to secure the company’s long-term future.

In a statement, PwC said Godfreys’ staff were informed there would be a “phased closure” of all stores between now and the end of May.

The group’s 25 head office staff in Australia were made redundant as of today and stores would continue to trade on an interim basis to provide a “reasonable period” for the clearance of existing stock, BusinessDesk reported.

Franchisees were informed Godfreys could no longer support them and had until the end of March to sell existing stock or return stock sold to them during the administration.